Subdivision 1. Application.
For the purposes of this chapter, the terms defined in this section
have the meanings given them unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
Subd. 2. Administrative action.
"Administrative action" means an action by any official,
board, commission or agency of the executive branch to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule under
chapter 14. "Administrative action" does not include the application or administration of an
adopted rule, except in cases of rate setting, power plant and powerline siting, and granting of
certificates of need under section
Subd. 3. Advance of credit.
"Advance of credit" means any money owed for goods provided
or services rendered. "Advance of credit" does not mean a loan as defined in subdivision 21.
Subd. 4. Approved expenditure.
"Approved expenditure" means an expenditure made
on behalf of a candidate by an entity other than the principal campaign committee of the
candidate, if the expenditure is made with the authorization or expressed or implied consent
of, or in cooperation or in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of the candidate, the
candidate's principal campaign committee, or the candidate's agent. An approved expenditure
is a contribution to that candidate.
Subd. 5. Associated business.
"Associated business" means an association, corporation,
partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or other organized legal
entity from which the individual receives compensation in excess of $50, except for actual and
reasonable expenses, in any month as a director, officer, owner, member, partner, employer or
employee, or whose securities the individual holds worth $2,500 or more at fair market value.
Subd. 6. Association.
"Association" means a group of two or more persons, who are not all
members of an immediate family, acting in concert.
Subd. 7. Ballot question.
"Ballot question" means a question or proposition that is placed on
the ballot and that may be voted on by all voters of the state. "Promoting or defeating a ballot
question" includes activities related to qualifying the question for placement on the ballot.
Subd. 7a.[Repealed by amendment, 1999 c 220 s 1
Subd. 7b.[Renumbered subd 13]
Subd. 8. Board.
"Board" means the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Subd. 9. Campaign expenditure.
"Campaign expenditure" or "expenditure" means a
purchase or payment of money or anything of value, or an advance of credit, made or incurred
for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of a candidate or for the purpose of
promoting or defeating a ballot question.
An expenditure is considered to be made in the year in which the candidate made the
purchase of goods or services or incurred an obligation to pay for goods or services.
An expenditure made for the purpose of defeating a candidate is considered made for the
purpose of influencing the nomination or election of that candidate or any opponent of that
Except as provided in clause (1), "expenditure" includes the dollar value of a donation in kind.
"Expenditure" does not include:
(1) noncampaign disbursements as defined in subdivision 26;
(2) services provided without compensation by an individual volunteering personal time
on behalf of a candidate, ballot question, political committee, political fund, principal campaign
committee, or party unit; or
(3) the publishing or broadcasting of news items or editorial comments by the news media.
Subd. 9a.[Renumbered subd 16]
Subd. 10. Candidate.
"Candidate" means an individual who seeks nomination or election
as a state constitutional officer, legislator, or judge. An individual is deemed to seek nomination
or election if the individual has taken the action necessary under the law of this state to qualify
for nomination or election, has received contributions or made expenditures in excess of $100,
or has given implicit or explicit consent for any other person to receive contributions or make
expenditures in excess of $100, for the purpose of bringing about the individual's nomination or
election. A candidate remains a candidate until the candidate's principal campaign committee
is dissolved as provided in section
Subd. 10a.[Renumbered subd 4]
Subd. 10b.[Renumbered subd 18]
Subd. 10c.[Renumbered subd 26]
Subd. 11. Contribution.
(a) "Contribution" means money, a negotiable instrument, or
a donation in kind that is given to a political committee, political fund, principal campaign
committee, or party unit.
(b) "Contribution" includes a loan or advance of credit to a political committee, political
fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit, if the loan or advance of credit is: (1) forgiven;
or (2) repaid by an individual or an association other than the political committee, political fund,
principal campaign committee, or party unit to which the loan or advance of credit was made.
If an advance of credit or a loan is forgiven or repaid as provided in this paragraph, it is a
contribution in the year in which the loan or advance of credit was made.
(c) "Contribution" does not include services provided without compensation by an individual
volunteering personal time on behalf of a candidate, ballot question, political committee, political
fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit, or the publishing or broadcasting of news
items or editorial comments by the news media.
Subd. 12. Depository.
"Depository" means a bank, savings association, or credit union
organized under federal or state law and transacting business within this state.
Subd. 13. Donation in kind.
"Donation in kind" means anything of value that is given, other
than money or negotiable instruments. An approved expenditure is a donation in kind.
Subd. 14.[Repealed, 1976 c 307 s 35
Subd. 15. Election.
"Election" means a primary, special primary, general, or special election.
Subd. 16. Election cycle.
"Election cycle" means the period from January 1 following a
general election for an office to December 31 following the next general election for that office,
except that "election cycle" for a special election means the period from the date the special
election writ is issued to 60 days after the special election is held.
Subd. 17. Financial institution.
"Financial institution" means a lending institution chartered
by an agency of the federal government or regulated by the commissioner of commerce.
Subd. 17a.[Renumbered subd 30]
Subd. 17b.[Renumbered subd 34]
Subd. 18. Independent expenditure.
"Independent expenditure" means an expenditure
expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, if the expenditure is
made without the express or implied consent, authorization, or cooperation of, and not in concert
with or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate or any candidate's principal campaign
committee or agent. An independent expenditure is not a contribution to that candidate. An
expenditure by a political party or political party unit in a race where the political party has a
candidate on the ballot is not an independent expenditure.
Subd. 19.[Repealed by amendment, 1999 c 220 s 1
Subd. 20. Loan.
"Loan" means an advance of money or anything of value made to a political
committee, political fund, principal campaign committee, or party unit.
Subd. 21. Lobbyist.
(a) "Lobbyist" means an individual:
(1) engaged for pay or other consideration of more than $3,000 from all sources in any year
for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official action
of a metropolitan governmental unit, by communicating or urging others to communicate with
public or local officials; or
(2) who spends more than $250, not including the individual's own traveling expenses
and membership dues, in any year for the purpose of attempting to influence legislative
or administrative action, or the official action of a metropolitan governmental unit, by
communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local officials.
(b) "Lobbyist" does not include:
(1) a public official;
(2) an employee of the state, including an employee of any of the public higher education
(3) an elected local official;
(4) a nonelected local official or an employee of a political subdivision acting in an official
capacity, unless the nonelected official or employee of a political subdivision spends more than 50
hours in any month attempting to influence legislative or administrative action, or the official
action of a metropolitan governmental unit other than the political subdivision employing the
official or employee, by communicating or urging others to communicate with public or local
officials, including time spent monitoring legislative or administrative action, or the official
action of a metropolitan governmental unit, and related research, analysis, and compilation and
dissemination of information relating to legislative or administrative policy in this state, or to the
policies of metropolitan governmental units;
(5) a party or the party's representative appearing in a proceeding before a state board,
commission, or agency of the executive branch unless the board, commission, or agency is taking
(6) an individual while engaged in selling goods or services to be paid for by public funds;
(7) a news medium or its employees or agents while engaged in the publishing or
broadcasting of news items, editorial comments, or paid advertisements which directly or
indirectly urge official action;
(8) a paid expert witness whose testimony is requested by the body before which the witness
is appearing, but only to the extent of preparing or delivering testimony; or
(9) a party or the party's representative appearing to present a claim to the legislature and
communicating to legislators only by the filing of a claim form and supporting documents and
by appearing at public hearings on the claim.
(c) An individual who volunteers personal time to work without pay or other consideration
on a lobbying campaign, and who does not spend more than the limit in paragraph (a), clause
(2), need not register as a lobbyist.
(d) An individual who provides administrative support to a lobbyist and whose salary and
administrative expenses attributable to lobbying activities are reported as lobbying expenses
by the lobbyist, but who does not communicate or urge others to communicate with public or
local officials, need not register as a lobbyist.
Subd. 22. Local official.
"Local official" means a person who holds elective office in a
political subdivision or who is appointed to or employed in a public position in a political
subdivision in which the person has authority to make, to recommend, or to vote on as a member
of the governing body, major decisions regarding the expenditure or investment of public money.
Subd. 23. Major political party.
"Major political party" means a major political party
as defined in section
200.02, subdivision 7
Subd. 24. Metropolitan governmental unit.
"Metropolitan governmental unit" means any
of the seven counties in the metropolitan area as defined in section
473.121, subdivision 2
regional railroad authority established by one or more of those counties under section
a city with a population of over 50,000 located in the seven-county metropolitan area, the
Metropolitan Council, or a metropolitan agency as defined in section
473.121, subdivision 5a
Subd. 25. Minor political party.
"Minor political party" means a minor political party
as defined in section
200.02, subdivision 23
Subd. 26. Noncampaign disbursement.
"Noncampaign disbursement" means a purchase or
payment of money or anything of value made, or an advance of credit incurred, or a donation in
kind received, by a principal campaign committee for any of the following purposes:
(1) payment for accounting and legal services;
(2) return of a contribution to the source;
(3) repayment of a loan made to the principal campaign committee by that committee;
(4) return of a public subsidy;
(5) payment for food, beverages, entertainment, and facility rental for a fund-raising event;
(6) services for a constituent by a member of the legislature or a constitutional officer in
the executive branch, including the costs of preparing and distributing a suggestion or idea
solicitation to constituents, performed from the beginning of the term of office to adjournment
sine die of the legislature in the election year for the office held, and half the cost of services for
a constituent by a member of the legislature or a constitutional officer in the executive branch
performed from adjournment sine die to 60 days after adjournment sine die;
(7) payment for food and beverages consumed by a candidate or volunteers while they
are engaged in campaign activities;
(8) payment for food or a beverage consumed while attending a reception or meeting directly
related to legislative duties;
(9) payment of expenses incurred by elected or appointed leaders of a legislative caucus in
carrying out their leadership responsibilities;
(10) payment by a principal campaign committee of the candidate's expenses for serving
in public office, other than for personal uses;
(11) costs of child care for the candidate's children when campaigning;
(12) fees paid to attend a campaign school;
(13) costs of a postelection party during the election year when a candidate's name will no
longer appear on a ballot or the general election is concluded, whichever occurs first;
(14) interest on loans paid by a principal campaign committee on outstanding loans;
(15) filing fees;
(16) post-general election thank-you notes or advertisements in the news media;
(17) the cost of campaign material purchased to replace defective campaign material, if the
defective material is destroyed without being used;
(18) contributions to a party unit;
(19) payments for funeral gifts or memorials;
(20) the cost of a magnet less than six inches in diameter containing legislator contact
information and distributed to constituents; and
(21) other purchases or payments specified in board rules or advisory opinions as being for
any purpose other than to influence the nomination or election of a candidate or to promote
or defeat a ballot question.
The board must determine whether an activity involves a noncampaign disbursement within
the meaning of this subdivision.
A noncampaign disbursement is considered to be made in the year in which the candidate
made the purchase of goods or services or incurred an obligation to pay for goods or services.
Subd. 27. Political committee.
"Political committee" means an association whose major
purpose is to influence the nomination or election of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot
question, other than a principal campaign committee or a political party unit.
Subd. 28. Political fund.
"Political fund" means an accumulation of dues or voluntary
contributions by an association other than a political committee, principal campaign committee,
or party unit, if the accumulation is collected or expended to influence the nomination or election
of a candidate or to promote or defeat a ballot question.
Subd. 29. Political party.
"Political party" means a major political party or a minor political
party. A political party is the aggregate of all its political party units in this state.
Subd. 30. Political party unit or party unit.
"Political party unit" or "party unit" means the
state committee or the party organization within a house of the legislature, congressional district,
county, legislative district, municipality, or precinct.
Subd. 31. Political subdivision.
"Political subdivision" means the Metropolitan Council, a
metropolitan agency as defined in section
473.121, subdivision 5a
, or a municipality as defined
471.345, subdivision 1
Subd. 32. Population.
"Population" means the population established by the most recent
federal census, by a special census taken by the United States Bureau of the Census, by an
estimate made by the Metropolitan Council, or by an estimate made by the state demographer
, whichever has the latest stated date of count or estimate.
Subd. 33. Principal.
"Principal" means an individual or association that:
(1) spends more than $500 in the aggregate in any calendar year to engage a lobbyist,
compensate a lobbyist, or authorize the expenditure of money by a lobbyist; or
(2) is not included in clause (1) and spends a total of at least $50,000 in any calendar year on
efforts to influence legislative action, administrative action, or the official action of metropolitan
governmental units, as described in section
10A.04, subdivision 6
Subd. 34. Principal campaign committee.
"Principal campaign committee" means a
principal campaign committee formed under section
Subd. 35. Public official.
"Public official" means any:
(1) member of the legislature;
(2) individual employed by the legislature as secretary of the senate, legislative auditor, chief
clerk of the house, revisor of statutes, or researcher, legislative analyst, or attorney in the Office of
Senate Counsel and Research or House Research;
(3) constitutional officer in the executive branch and the officer's chief administrative deputy;
(4) solicitor general or deputy, assistant, or special assistant attorney general;
(5) commissioner, deputy commissioner, or assistant commissioner of any state department
or agency as listed in section
, or the state chief information officer;
(6) member, chief administrative officer, or deputy chief administrative officer of a state
board or commission that has either the power to adopt, amend, or repeal rules under chapter 14,
or the power to adjudicate contested cases or appeals under chapter 14;
(7) individual employed in the executive branch who is authorized to adopt, amend, or repeal
rules under chapter 14 or adjudicate contested cases under chapter 14;
(8) executive director of the State Board of Investment;
(9) deputy of any official listed in clauses (7) and (8);
(10) judge of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals;
(11) administrative law judge or compensation judge in the State Office of Administrative
Hearings or referee in the Department of Employment and Economic Development;
(12) member, regional administrator, division director, general counsel, or operations
manager of the Metropolitan Council;
(13) member or chief administrator of a metropolitan agency;
(14) director of the Division of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement in the Department of
(15) member or executive director of the Higher Education Facilities Authority;
(16) member of the board of directors or president of Minnesota Technology, Inc.;
(17) member of the board of directors or executive director of the Minnesota State High
(18) member of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority established in section
(19) citizen member of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources;
(20) manager of a watershed district, or member of a watershed management organization as
defined under section
103B.205, subdivision 13
(21) supervisor of a soil and water conservation district.
Subd. 36. State committee.
"State committee" means the organization that, by virtue of the
bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the political party at
the state level.
History: 1974 c 470 s 1; 1975 c 271 s 6; 1976 c 307 s 1-4; 1978 c 463 s 1-18; 1979 c 59 s
1-3; 1980 c 509 s 1; 1980 c 587 art 2 s 1-7; 1980 c 607 art 14 s 45 subd 1; art 17 s 1-8; 1980 c
614 s 40; 1980 c 615 s 60; 1981 c 29 art 7 s 1; 1981 c 346 s 1; 1981 c 356 s 248; 1982 c 424 s
130; 1983 c 247 s 5,6; 1983 c 258 s 10; 1983 c 289 s 114 subd 1; 1984 c 619 s 11; 1984 c 640 s
32; 1984 c 654 art 3 s 13; 1984 c 655 art 1 s 92; 1Sp1985 c 14 art 9 s 75; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986
c 3 art 1 s 2; 1987 c 186 s 15; 1988 c 686 art 1 s 40; 1989 c 209 art 1 s 1,2; 1989 c 334 art 6
s 1; 1990 c 562 art 8 s 2; 1990 c 608 art 1 s 1-5; art 3 s 1-3; 1991 c 233 s 109; 1991 c 322 s
19; 1991 c 349 s 1,2; 1993 c 13 art 1 s 1; 1993 c 318 art 2 s 1-4; 1994 c 483 s 1; 1994 c 628
art 3 s 2; 1995 c 189 s 8; 1995 c 202 art 1 s 25; 1996 c 277 s 1; 1997 c 129 art 2 s 15; 1997
c 202 art 2 s 63; 1998 c 254 art 2 s 3; 1999 c 220 s 1,50; 2000 c 260 s 2,3; 2002 c 363 s 1;
1Sp2003 c 1 art 2 s 18; 2004 c 206 s 52; 2005 c 156 art 5 s 1; art 6 s 1,2; 2006 c 242 s 11; 2006 c
243 s 1; 2006 c 257 s 1; 2007 c 57 art 1 s 10